Covid-19 (Transport)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 26th May 2020.

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

I hope that the public take reassurance from the guidance that was issued today, which is not only for operators. There are two elements to it: the operators guidance and the public guidance on making use of public transport.

We want to encourage people to consider that guidance and to make use of it if they have to use public transport. However, the reality is that it will remain constrained for a considerable period while physical distancing remains in place. That is why it is critical that we see the right type of leadership in businesses in relation to supporting their staff to continue working from home for extended periods and being flexible with work routines if staff have to come into work, in order to avoid peak-time travel.

It is also critical that the public have assurance that bus and rail operators and other public transport providers are putting in place enhanced cleaning regimes as well as management systems at particular transport hubs to support people in maintaining physical distancing, and that they put out clear messaging on how people should purchase tickets—for example using contactless payment and in advance of their journey.

Those measures, collectively, can support people who need to use public transport to be assured that we are doing everything possible to help manage physical distancing and hygiene on the public transport network. Equally, we need others to play their part; we need individual personal responsibility and we need businesses and the public sector to consider work arrangements to minimise the risk of peak demand getting to a point at which it extensively compromises physical distancing on the transport network.